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Game Info:

BATTLETECH Flashpoint
Developed By: Harebrained Schemes
Published By: Paradox Interactive
Release Date: Nov 27, 2018
Available On: Windows, macOS, Linux
ESRB Rating: N/A
Genre: Turn-based Strategy
Mode: Primarily singleplayer, with a multiplayer mode also
MSRP: $19.99
(Humble Store Link)

Thank you Paradox Interactive for sending us this game to review!

I reviewed BATTLETECH back in May, which you can find here. Flashpoint is the first expansion pack/DLC for BATTLETECH, so if you are not familiar with BATTLETECH, please read that review before moving on. This review assumes you are familiar with the base game that this expansion pack is for.

BATTLETECH Flashpoint is the first of three announced expansion packs for the hit turn-based strategy game BATTLETECH. As a longtime BATTLETECH fan, and the one who reviewed the base game, I really looked forward to an excuse to get back into this game, and thankfully, Flashpoint does a great job doing exactly that – giving fans of BATTLETECH another reason to come back.

The Flashpoint expansion centers around a few main additions to the base game. The main one by far, and the biggest draw, are the new Flashpoint missions. These missions are multi-part contracts that not only pay well, but involve both characters that build out the lore of the universe of BATTLETECH, as well as choices that affect how the missions turn out. Each mission is handcrafted, and carefully created to stay true to BATTLETECH canon, which is a nice touch, and great for fans of this series’ lore.

Each of these missions is intended to be like a mini-campaign. They typically start with a request from a rich benefactor, like a noble from a ruling house in one of the many factions. They show up on your star map as an unmissable flashing icon, and there are typically only a small number of them available at any time. If you have not completed the campaign yet, they don’t show up at all.

BATTLETECH Flashpoint
Highlights:

Strong Points: More of an already good thing (more BATTLETECH is great!)
Weak Points: A little pricey for what you get; the content doesn’t make much (if any) impact early in the game
Moral Warnings: Everything that applies to BATTLETECH applies here, so that includes curse words, violence, etc.

Your conversations with the benefactor (or various other characters relevant to the mission) are shown on your hologram viewer (I forget what it’s called in game) and you directly talk with them. Nothing is voice acted, sadly, but the missions are reasonably well written. Each Flashpoint can be anything from a small two mission aside to a fairly involved 4+ mission campaign. I have seen some missions to have several opportunities for choices that affect the outcome.

One of the more memorable Flashpoints for me was when you were tasked with eliminating a leader of a powerful lance that had been involved with the murder of tens of thousands of innocent people in the Draconis Combine. This guy turned out to be a real piece of work, and had threatened your entire crew with certain death if you attempted to flee or change the deal once you had figured out where he was. You had the choice to bomb the sensor array and get out of there, or take him head on and capture or kill him.

In another mission, you were given the opportunity to rescue civilians who would have been otherwise killed or lost their homes while you were performing your next mission. It was neat to actually have the rare chance to do the right thing – money or not. While not every mission is as memorable as those were, there are still plenty of interesting stories that not only give you an excuse to keep sending your giant robots to keep blowing up other giant robots, but help you meet the people behind the faceless factions, and you get to learn more and more about the universe of BATTLETECH.

While the Flashpoints are by far the biggest additions, there are also three new mechs, a new environment, and some other, smaller additions. It’s possible for missions to have a weight limit now, which is interesting. Considering that my mech bay has almost all 75 ton and up mechs hanging out in there, these missions are a great way to make players change that up. Lighter mech warfare can look quite different than the ‘blow things up with huge explosions ASAP’ that tends to rule with lances of assault mechs.

BATTLETECH Flashpoint
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 86%
Gameplay - 15/20
Graphics - 9/10
Sound - 9/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 73%
Violence - 6/10
Language - 6.5/10
Sexual Content - 8/10
Occult/Supernatural - 8/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 8/10

The new mechs are the Hatchetman, which is a medium mech with the melee damage of an assault mech. It’s pretty interesting, and can be very potent, but you still have to be careful – its armor is very much in medium mech territory. There is a new assault mech called the Cyclops, and another medium mech called the Crab. The Crab looks neat, but I haven’t found one in my game yet. The Cyclops has two variants: one that is a missile boat, with tons of missile hardpoints, and the other is a bit low on attack strength, but has a powerful battle computer. This computer gives your entire lance +1 initiative, so they can usually attack first. This is very, very powerful.

Released along with Flashpoint is the free for all owners 1.3 update, which, along with previous patches that I haven’t covered, really improve the gameplay experience quite a bit since I reviewed BATTLETECH from back in the 1.0 days. Animations are much faster, loading times are very quick now, and most of my complaints are addressed. They also added a new Career mode, which is pretty much like playing the campaign without any story priority missions to get in the way. It’s the quickest way to get to the Flashpoint content if you are starting from scratch, as they don’t show up in the campaign until after you complete the main story.

When it comes to the graphics, sound, and moral concerns, these are exactly the same as the base game. Please refer to the BATTLETECH review for more information.

BATTLETECH Flashpoint is a solid expansion pack for any and every fan of the base game. If you want more to do, more to collect, and more opportunities to grab some LosTech, this is your best bet. However, if you are not sure if this game is your thing, or if you are just a casual mech pilot, this expansion is kind of pricey for what you are likely to gain from it. You may see little to no changes in campaign mode until the postgame, and if you aren’t likely to put more time into this after seeing the credits, then this is not for you. But if you have already beaten the campaign and are itching for more, BATTLETECH Flashpoint is an excellent addition for any aspiring mech commander, especially if you desire to fill in the blanks on all those other factions you take those high-paying jobs from.

About the Author

Jason Gress

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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